Why? What’s the attraction? Is it because children’s (And YA) are where the ‘stories’ really are? The detractors would point out that these books are too simplistic. Too light and too fast–certainly lighter and faster than the Russian novel some might carry about in the hope of appearing smart.
As an author that spans the gap between children and YA, and as an author of adult work, too, the difference, for me, is simply the psychological reaction of the protagonist to any given situation. Yet, the fundamental ideas explored—death, love, survival, growing up, trials of life —are things we all understand and can relate to.
Apparently, I, as a reader, should be constantly challenging myself. But if that means “Literary Fiction”, I struggle. Yes, there are great and meaningful books, but more often than not endless layers of “experimentation” that serve no narrative purpose and takes the reader on a journey to ‘understanding’. Well, they leave me numb and cold. Why does reading always have to be a challenge? I’ve searched for that and it’s not in my job description.
The corollary is that The Lord of the Flies sits on the shelves of children’s literature, but it was not written for children. And if Dickens is held up as another example of what we, as adults, should be reading, let’s not pretend that he would be writing in any other genre other than Children’s and YA if he were publishing work today.
As Josh Indar says in his excellent article; Nobody Should feel Embarrassed to Read YA Fiction, Dickens is not experimental enough for today’s literary fiction, not hard-boiled enough for the crime genre (even though there is always some crime at the heart of his plots), too realistic for any of the fantasy genres, and far too sentimental to be taken seriously by modernist critics.
There are good books and bad books. We should read things that tap into our emotions and make us feel, are honest and authentic and enjoyable.
This 5* review for the Beast of Seabourne, hits the spot for me.
What was really great about the characters was their relationship with one another. It doesn’t matter where the issues arise, this group of friends are there for each other in a way you don’t always find at that age. It’s good to have a friend(s) that can be there like they are in every situation, just as they are.
Overall I give this book 5/5 for it’s magic, adventure, thrill, and mystery aspects that mix and blend well in the plot.
At this festive time, I’ll drink to that.